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we have seen on this. umph an action trecker will allow the public and policymakers to identify the issues that they are interested in, read about the problems we described in our report, and the recommendations we make, as well as the progress that neither the congress or executive branches has made in addressing these issues. host: the report is from the gao. the call, thank you for joining us this morning. all for "washington journal" today. we now go to the brookings institution for a panel on north korea and u.s. policy priorities. months,he last five there has been an increasingly tense war of words between
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north korea and the united states, south korea, japan, and china. there has been increasing concern that this war of nerves is going to change into a war of weapons. is thet recent concern possible launch of a north korean medium-range missile. april 15 seemed like a good day to do that since it is the 101st nniversary of kim il sung's birth. what a better present for the old man and to launch a missile in his name. there are lots of questions around this, what the implications are, whether there is a way out of this. i have six questions that i will post to my colleagues in different permutations and will marchs and we through these as expeditiously
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as we can to leave time for your questions. the first question is, is this crisis different from previous ones? if it is, in what ways? what is the real danger of war? a stab atd you take the first question? >> yes, thank you for being here today. in a number of respects, as you look at the crisis, as it has unfolded, it is easy, especially for cynical old correa hands like me to say, there they go again. to some extent, there is a toeline level of similarity previous crises that we have been through before. there is a baseline level of threat and rhetoric that one always hears from north korea. so it is easy to dismiss that. i think this crisis is different from past. the threats have been much more
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specific than in the past. the level and intensity of the rhetoric has been much more bombastic and over the top than in the past. perhaps the biggest difference is in terms of north korean capabilities. 10 or 15 years ago we were not dealing with a country that had conducted a series of nuclear tests. we were not dealing with a north korea that had successfully launched a long-range rocket that many of us feel is an early stage in the development of band icbm capability. we're not dealing with a north korea that was making specific threats to attack targets with nuclear weapons, which is what they're doing now. it is one thing to make these threats, it is another to have the capability to take them out. i do not want to overreact to these suggestions or suggest that they have the ability to carry out some of the more
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outrageous of the provocative threats it has made, but we ought to be concerned, particularly about the possibility of this copulation, misperception on their part. the worst country any country can make is believing their own propaganda, and maybe there are some that do, and that is obviously a concern. another reason this crisis is different in the past is we have a new person in charge in pyongyang. in the past we have developed a sense of how far can ill song would push things on his peninsula. and then his successor, kim jong il, his son, we had years to develop his sense of experience, we had a sense of his limits.
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we have a new leader now and we do not know to what extent he understand what he is up against, in terms of u.s. and south korean military capabilities. are we on the verge of war? i suspect not. we have not seen any of the outrageous rhetoric we haveexpen from pyongyang matched with major force movements, artillery is not moving up to the front, armored units are not moving around, etc. the possibility of a mistake is there. whenever that possibility exists, you need to prepare for a whole range of possible outcomes. that is why i think the way the haveadministration and rok handled this is good so far. >> i would not quarrel, in essence, with what evans has laid out, certainly a lot to argue for viewing this as something that is somewhat different from what we have seen before. i do find a certain irony that there seems to be almost a wistful nostalgia for kim jong
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il. [laughter] not to mention that, for grandpa himself, going back further. so much of what we see here has a very contrived quality. this is a manufactured crisis, but it is predominantly for domestic purposes in north korea, but an additional calculation that suggests to me 3.0, that he. kim, sees this as the basis for creating a certain legitimacy in the eyes of his own people and, curiously, he may think, in the eyes of the outside world. the frustration that north korea feels that no major power, as far as i can see, with perhaps the exception of iran, could
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legitimate these types of weapons capabilities and give north korea what it seeks, which is in some sense, to punch above its weight. this function continues economically, and in other what is perhaps most disheartening, a young, untested returned andt only reverted to form, adopting fully the strategy that his father pursued, but he has ratcheted it up, at least in the propaganda way, to even higher law allows. readsaid, anyone who north korean propaganda -- and you know i need a hobby since i do returned and reverted to -- will have to knoe conditional element that is there in every statement the north koreans make. thething that says if
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american imperialists and their dogs and south korea their take one step, attack us, then we will release this unimaginable attack on them, including nuclear-weapons, putting aside to one. whether or not there is capability, in fact, to do what they threaten to do. that speaks to the frustration that north korea often encounters. that does add to the element of risk, i would not dispute what evans said, and that is why we need to prepare carefully, but certainly not overreact, which would play to north korea's preferred responses. richard -- and, it is an honor to be up here with such a distinguished panel. my comment is much more general and not specialized nearly as much. i just want to raise a question,
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based on something that jonathan said about the main purpose behind all these provocations. you mentioned your interpretation was larded for domestic purposes. i have no doubt there is an element. i wonder if north korea just wants to make this crisis so unpleasant for everyone but we are scared of applying further sanctions if there is an additional nuclear test. part of the reason i raise the question is because i got out my copy of the latest north korean , jonathan's new book "no exit." as you argue persuasively, the nuclear issue has become pretty important for the regime. whether or not there is any hope of getting rid of it, as we aspire to, that is not clear. that is true, they
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may want to do another test. there scientists may say we cannot vouch for a nuclear had to go on a missile, so they may want to spook other capitals so much that if and when they do that nuclear test, and nobody dares to apply more sanctions. just another theory that i wanted to put into the mix. i cannot prove it. it is just based on my inference and my reading of their nuclear history. me, one ofseem to the time-honored plays in the north korean playbook is, once a decision is made to take a particular developmental step in terms of nuclear weapons or missile development, you look for rationale to justify what you have already decided to do, and that is very relevant to what you have described. let us come back to that
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question. it seems to me, one of the ways in which this situation is is thent from past ones consequence of that will flow from something that the north koreans sometimes do, and that is a limited, conventional strike against south korea. 2010, south korea was willing to take the punch and respond in a tempered and somewhat symbolic way. that is no longer south korea's policy. there was a decision made and has been developed over the last two years to respond more robustly to deploy it essentially deterrence by punishment. south korea has worked closely with the united states in programming with that response will be.
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the question that none of us can answer is, what does north korea do, once software retaliates? does anyone want to comment on that? then the aftermath of november 2010 north korean artillery attack, by the way, the first time that north korean artillery shells had fallen on south korea since the end of the korean war. that was a very disturbing development. there was a limited south korean retaliation at that point, but in the aftermath, the previous rok president made it clear that his government would respond to kinetically.-- under the new president they have made it even more clear that there will be immediate and proportional response to any
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north korean attack on south korean soil or warships and aircraft. that is an important message that north korea needs to understand. question, is an open based on the fact that south koreans, over the decade, have not responded to the north -- has that message fully been taken on board by pyongyang? do they understand that this south korean government, president has to respond for domestic, political, and other reasons to any attack? that is an important question that we need to understand. beyond that, and the united states and rok now have a joint agreement to consult, map out a plan of the retaliatory strike, it is e mead and
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kinetic, and proportional, and also to make sure that we have forrol over the potential this escalating into a much broader conflict. my sense is it is not clear that pyongyang understands that not only will they be dealing with an rok retaliatory strike, but it would have been consulted between the two allies. i do not for this escalating into a much pyongyangher will stop in the immediate aftermath of that retaliatory strike, or whether then they will take a the escalation. if they do, we would have a problem on the korean peninsula. >> one comment. i would personally wagering that the north koreans would do something additional. people that say they are crazy, they do not recognize who they are dealing with -- they also know that we do not war. they probably know that they can play the birds mentioned game better than we can.
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statement fromd the cold war, the threat that leaves something to chance. i think the north koreans are prepared to have this continue to escalate, perhaps. perhaps they believe they can stomach that, that their nerves are stronger than ours, and frankly, their only real asset is to play a big expansion game. pyongyang willi do not think they would ge that up and therefore would give up. >> to an extent, that is something the u.s. has to factor in. if they retaliate and then you do nothing, you call into question your response. this is risky because this could quickly spin out of control. over the years, it has become clear that the north koreans have demonstrated, time and again, that they are willing
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to risk more than south korea is willing to risk. that is part of their calculation. their artillery and forces have the entire population of south korea within range. they feel south korea has more to lose from a confrontation. they have used that tool, if you will, to some affect over the years. the other big unknown here is, does north korea think they have south korea and the united states deterred, as a result of these media missiles and crude weapons capacity? if the north thinks they have the united states and south korea deterred because of this development, that does not bode well for this ask dilatory process. they may think they can raise the stakes higher by another attack.
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>> just a couple of points. one of the thing that is always striking about north korean behavior is their capacity to find something in the seams. something that is very undermining in the south and the like, but doing it in a way where they think they are free from major consequences. the question is whether that same script would follow. it would seem to me, often, in the case of their brinksmanship, their case is to perturb the south psychologically, economically, and the like. it may be because you have a tough, determined new leader in south korea that the belief was, let's wretched this up even higher in the expectation that south korea will waver in its commitment and relationship with the united states. i think that is a fundamental this calculation by north
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korea, and that will be proven if things go from bad to worse. whether it is cyber attacks, other efforts to rattle nerves and south korea, whether momentarily or over the long run, it is that element of manydictability that so fine so jarring. in some contexts, leads people to make the argument, now is the time we are to the point where we need a senior person to deal with this audit urgent basis, which in a way, is affirming their strategy. that is an element in policy we have to discuss. thisere is a danger in current situation. i want to turn back to the question of motivations. jonathan has talked about imperatives at play here.
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that rings true to me. has talked about the desire to, in effect, desensitize the united states and international community concerning further tests of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. that also makes sense. if there are other things. let me throw one out. and is to pressure accommodation from the united states on north korea's terms. to sharpenay we want their choices. well, they are sharpening hours, giving us a choice of policy isolation on the one hand, instability in the region. we cannot have both and we have to choose. to sharpen their choices. is that going on? i think it is going on.
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the north koreans have made it increasingly clear in recent including when there by smart -- foreign minister came to new york last summer, that north korea is and intends to remain a nuclear state. as they told us, you need to deal with us as we are, not as you wish us to be, and we are a nuclear-weapons state. including when there by smart -- foreign minister came to new york last summer, that north korea is and intends to remain a nuclear state. as they told us, you need to deal with us as we are, not as you wish us to be, and we are a nuclear-weapons state. we should be dealt with as one nuclear state, as with the south. those were his words. what>> i see happening here is,a north korean interest in reading gauging with us, but on their terms. they want to have a conversation certainly with the u.s.. i am less convinced they want to have a conversation with other participants in the six-party process. they want the benefits they see that would flow from a possible negotiation with the united states, possibly others,
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assistance, food, energy. they want those things and also acceptance of their new status as a defect code nuclear-weapons state. in this context, it is interesting, if you listen to what secretary kerry has said, he is suggesting a willingness to greengage on the basis that the commitment that north korea has already made to denuclearize. there is a problem with that. have said thatns not denuclearize. and the idea that they would or exchange program with some but -- for some benefits is off the table. you need to deal with us as we are, as a nuclear state. the united states is interested in having a conversation with a country that wants to have a very different conversation than the one that we are prepared to have. >> or exchange program with some but -- for some benefits is off the table. you need to deal with us as we other hypothesis about
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motivation? >> i wanted to point out another thing in jonathan's book. maybe, instead of thinking of north korea as having a clear weapons or not, our goal needs to be to contain the number they have, convince them that they need to gradually put a lid on it, or overtime,what secretary k the number, and make sure they do not build more. talk about how this could get worse. if they reactivate their reactor, expand their uranium they have and go into the business of building nuclear other hypothesis about weapons for their own purposes or for sale, as people on this panel have argued, we have a different ball game. so instead of thinking of denuclearization as on or off, we need to find a way to cap it and then ratchet back with time.
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not necessarily even promising to a zero #any time soon, because that is probably unrealistic. i have probably held on to that goal as much as anyone on the panel, but given where we are, we have to be realistic in the first steps, as they have the potential to go into a large arsenal, make sure they do not do that. >> i want to go to a couple of other issues. >> if i could push back a little bit on that. the idea that you can put in place in agreement -- an agreement with the north koreans that would limit the improvement of their arsenal, i think we need to drill down on this more. let us remember that the bush administration's negotiations with the north koreans broke down over the question of verification. getting into north korea and having a high level of credibility, believability that
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they had stopped their nuclear- weapons program. we have a big problem here in that they are working on the program, as we now know. they have shown it to us. there is no doubt in the minds of american analysts that they have enrichment at the nuclear facility and other similar programs elsewhere. how do you make sure the north koreans are not making more fissile material for nuclear weapons? how do you make sure they are not making improvements to the existing weapons? how do you put together a verifications' agreement with north korea when they have made it clear that they are prepared to throw away an agreement with the united states over the issue of verification. this is one of the closed -- most closed countries in the world. the idea that any regime would allow to agree american inspectors to snoop into every
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nook and cranny and put together an agreement with the united states that implements this idea, i am sympathetic to the goal, but i do not see how you can get there from here. >> we can even step back a bit farther to the agreed framework. you could argue, in a literal sense, north korea was arguing the terms of the agreement. that is the good news. the bad news, since uranium enrichment as such was not precluded in the agreement -- it is clear in retrospect. certainly, we do not have the full story laid out. even in the clinton administration, there was recognition of growing evidence of exploratory activities and so forth. that was not part of the agreed framework. i do think the north koreans are often very literal, specific
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about what they're presumed obligations are, but this issue of their vacations, which has stymied any kind of genuine progress, and that that i mean steps definitively to preclude further nuclear weapons development. we have seen this movie too many times. of course, it leads to enormous skepticism about the virtues of this kind of approach. >> to be clear, if we had confidence, the technical challenge of monitoring and verifying that they are not enriching uranium, that is manageable. the question, at the end of the day, are we confident north korea has told us about every site? >> the arrangement we had on plutonium, we were pretty confident we could monitor the reactor. there were other enrichment projects that they have not told us about.
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>> your skepticism would be justified. let me go back to the question of verification. keep in mind, until the doctor was allowed to visit the in richmond facility in yongbyon, we had no idea where the facility was. we discovered the north koreans had managed to build a state of the art uranium enrichment facility right in the middle of the yongbyon nuclear complex, under our noses, rok, u.s. intelligence, and chinese intelligence presumably. it was a state-of-the-art facility, up and running, and came away impressed and overwhelmed with its sophistication. for anyone that has been to the yongbyon facility, this is one of the closely -- most closely
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watched races in the world. so you have to be very skeptical about our ability to verify. >> i take all those observations but you have also identified that we have this oxymoron policy and where we say you have to commit to the new verification before talks begin. towould be hard to get them talk down the road. perhaps it will not be american inspectors. maybe it will be chinese inspectors. maybe we will have to accept everything goes along with that. if we can monitor and limit that activity, maybe that is the best we can do. i do not know the answers, but it does strike me, they are doing been redone know about, building up their arsenal, and we are at a loss with our
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current methods. we may need to broaden our scope a little. some moreturn to specific questions. the first is a factual one. whatis for steve and mike, exactly are the capabilities of north korean missiles? >> there is reason to concerned but also a fair amount of hyperbole as to what north korea can and cannot do. in order to have a ballistic missile, they have to have a nuclear device, second, they to be able to the nature arise that so it can fit on a warhead and withstand a thermal and mechanical stresses that the warhead goes through, and third, any do have a ballistic missile that works reliably. taking each one of those in order -- clearly, they have a nuclear device. they have done three tests since 2006.
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the first and second tests as partial failures but the third appeared to be more successful. what we do not know is exactly what they tested. we do not know how big it was. they talked about moving towards a major rise weapon, but we do not know the size of the devices used. typically, four other states, the way that the u.s. and russia have went, the device was probably between four to 7 tons. that would not fit on a ballistic missile, except for maybe the ones that the russians have. they have a nuclear device, how big it is, we do not know. the second question is putting this into a warhead. that is also a demanding technical challenge. you have to withstand the stresses that you have with
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acceleration and then re- entering the atmosphere, and then thermal exhaust. when you talk about an intercontinental ballistic missile, that moves at a speed of 7 kilometers a second, a 15,000 miles per hour. that puts a lot of stress on the warhead. you need a weapon that is a major rise but can also survive and function in a stressful environment. in terms of their test history, north korea has never successfully tested a ballistic missile warhead to a range greater than 1,300 kilometers. is whathird challenge kind of missile do they have and what can they do? they have some missiles that are a very of the scud, first used by the russians in the 1950's. that gives them the range of most of south korea. then they have other missiles
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that allows coverage of targets in japan as well as south korea. but when you move beyond that, you get into a series of missiles that cannot be regarded as proven. the focus of the last couple of weeks is this missile that they have moved to the coast of korea. there is some suspicion that there could be a launch on the birthday. it has never been test flown. we have never seen it fly. 2,200r type, a range of kilometers, it has flown once, in 1998 as a space launch vehicle, and the third stage failed. we have seen the type of dog to missile.dong 2 that is one for five.
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the only successful mission that they had was putting a satellite into orbit, but that is not doing anything. but there is a big difference between getting a satellite up there and then delivering a warhead and then bringing it back down. there is some speculation on the outside, when people look at pictures, they say, does this look like a real missile or is this just a mock up? there are some questions about their test program and how good their f range would be. you some context, the atlas was the first ballistic missile used by the u.s.. it went through 125 tests before it was declared operational. the soviet's first missile waent
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through 90 tests before declaring operational. this is rocket science. you really have to ask yourself the question, or north korean engineers so good that they can glean from a handful of tests, one, in some cases no test, information about these missile that would give them confidence that they could be reliably used? i am not saying that we should not be concerned, and they are making progress, but it is important to keep this in perspective. i would refer to people who are much smarter and north korean and i am, but it seems to me a good part of their foreign policy is placed -- based on bluster. perhaps it is less important that the rockets actually work -- maybe they do not work at all. that is less important than if you can make people, your population, think they could
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work. >> steve has made some pretty apt points. this is rocket science and it is not easy. if there is any good news in this story, and i use the term lightly, and is the fact that north korea's's industrial capacity to test on a regular basis, and so forth, are probably very constrained. i am not saying it has to be totally equivalent to the types of programs that we ran or the russians ran, but this is not what i would regard as a true testing program. it is just not frequent enough, not as intense enough to qualify. that said, the challenge here is maybe less but the north koreans believe they have. it may be more of what we believe we have, and how we respond accordingly. i must say, there is a real art form on the part of this as far
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as how north korea advertises its wares. sometimes in obscure ways. that we went over to north korea, where they had this glorious new blue roof over this reconstructed building. he was the first, and still to this point, last western visitor to observe the enriched the facility. we do not know what is going on under the roof of that glorious building. we do not know what is or is not going on in other facilities elsewhere in north korea. much to the doctors frustration, the north koreans will not let him back in. maybe he disclosed to much. >> this is the good news about rockets, as opposed to having plutonium. if you're going to launch a rocket, given the greater
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coverage that korea has now, we will have a chance to see it. it does not preclude the north koreans of doing tests underground and such, but if you really want to have confidence, most engineers would say, i want to fly it a few times. that should be very visible. >> it is important to keep in mind many of the new system that the north koreans are developing are road-mobile systems. under certain conditions we may not see these systems being ramped up and ready for launch. another thing to keep in mind, going back to the visit of the nuclear facility at yongbyon. of thee former director los angeles nuclear-weapons laboratory goes to north korea i'm sorry -- and
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describes a state-of-the-art facility, we should not underestimate the technical capabilities of north korea. we just need to be careful on that point. move on to, let's china, which is important in terms of its political influence, implementation of sanctions, and so on. china itself has a new leader. his colleagues think about this situation unfolding before their eyes? this series of events may be different, as seen as the chinese, both because there is , and kimrship in china jong un and those that he is listening to have decided to chinese on the fundamentals. the chinese have tried, repeatedly, and it is a record unblemished by success, going
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back to the time of kim jong to make a political and economic investment in the north, of the belief that a new leader would not necessarily replicate and further pursue what his father, in particular, had done, and grandfather as well. i think the chinese saw a reason to get a bit of entry into the north korean system, if they could, on the basis of this new leader who had first made some other noises. i would argue the united states made a similar calculation. february 29at the agreement, it was premised on the idea of, let's see whether or not a new leader will divest himself of what preceded and see
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if there is some kind of basis on which negotiations can proceed. the problem, unfortunately, is after some modest signals, recognizing that young mr. kim is a very extroverted individual, he resembles his grandfather in the eerie ways. his father was much more introverted. ist we see now, and this what is particularly distressing to the chinese leadership, is having made this investment, you are in the same position where you cannot take the north koreans at their word. for example, the chinese elevated a new bureau in the congress in november. one of the members of the new bureau traveled to north korea in the weeks following that, had discussions with the north in a visible way, and he even came
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carrying some kind of letter. we do not know what the contents may have been. again, he raised what his predecessors had raised with kim jong il time and again. we want a predictable relationship with the north. if you have an urgent situation or are planning something big, we need to know about it. of course, they were never really told in the event. again, heso he returns home, aa matter of days, the north koreans announced they are going to launch a satellite. this offends the chinese in a number of ways. the question is, with the new sheriff in town, if you will, will the rendered on this be different? now, for the first time, the chinese are acknowledging the extent that what north korea is
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doing is directly affecting their vital security interests. they are not defending the north koreans in the same way anymore. they are not even making the accusations directly at the united states. they have been very tempered in their reactions to be u.s. military deployed, prompted by the north korean behavior. this may be something that we have told the chinese to keep them fully informed that it is not directed against them. the chinese can connect the dots here. if you have arrived at the conclusion that north korea, by whatever means, wants an operational nuclear deterrent, that is, to say the least, deeply vexing to the chinese and leads them to think about this relationship, i think, in potentially different fashions. it does not mean the chinese will cut the court -- cut the north koreans loose, but i believe the chinese are
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actively deliberating, how do they impose costs on the north for its behavior? because it is really harming their interests in a palpable way. >> i would like to turn to one of the reasons why china is probably concerned about the trend. that is the implication for regional peace and security. i would like steve to talk first about something called extended deterrence. and then evans to talk about a related topic, proposals we are hearing in south korea that maybe it is time for us to the nuclear weapons, too. of deterrencedea is to persuade a potential adversary that there are risks and costs to their actions, and they are out of proportion to any games that he or she might achieve. for theirly easy
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united states that a major attack on the united states runs the risk of a nuclear response. with the u.s. has done, going back to the 1950's, is to extend that deterrence to allies. persuade potential adversaries that an attack on south korea could bring a nuclear response perhaps. this is not just to protect allies. this is also designed to discourage allies from acquiring their own nuclear weapons capability. south korea did have their own nuclear weapons program. australia also considered in the 1960's to have an independent nuclear weapons capability. part of the challenge is not to your the foe, but assure allies, the american commitment is there and solid. up until the early 1990's the
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agreement in south korea was supported by nuclear organizations and u.s. ships in the pacific. by a were withdrawn decision under george h.w. bush, but at that point, there was a clear message that, one, u.s. strategic forces would extend the deterrent, and that the u.s. could obtain the capability, if need be, to get back into the region and deploy nuclear capability. would it put out its nuclear posture review, among other things, it called on the u.s. but -- military to maintain those capabilities, to deploy weapons if necessary. i do not think it was an accident the airforce decided to fly two b-2's over south korea two weeks ago. also is the idea of having
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capability to deploy into the area and deploy tactical aircraft if necessary. but i do not think anybody is talking about that at this point. the administration is also tried to do this in the context where they would lead to more broadly reduce the number of weapons in the nuclear arsenal and reduce american reliance on it. there is a bit of attention, on the one hand, reducing nuclear weapons and reliance on that system, while still indicating to south korea that the deterrent is still there, and in particular, soccer does not need to develop its own nuclear weapons capabilities. >> would you like to offer reasons why? >> i will not because it borders on the irresponsible. the notion that south korea needs nuclear-weapons, to me, which is an argument that has been made by a small number of academics and a few politicians,
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certainly not a mainstream view, certainly not the south korean government's view, to me, has the potential to make an already typical situation incredibly more difficult. the international nonproliferation regime, global non-proliferation regime is already under attack by irresponsible countries like north korea. the idea that you would spread nuclear-weapons to get another party, to me, would undermine the non-proliferation regime. beyond that, as my colleague has already stated, this is a deterrent in place that is more than adequate to the task of deterring north korea, and if that fails, in dealing with north korea, using the assets in our strategic arsenal. our south korean allies know this and accept it. it is very important at this stage of the game to insure
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there is the utmost confidence in that extended deterrence by our south korean allies and japanese allies as well. i think the obama administration deployments,2, b-2 and other statements we have made, that is the right way to respond to the crisis, not by making it more complicated by reintroducing nuclear-weapons onto the korean peninsula or by having me rok develop its own nuclear weapons program. >> we have spent a lot of time analyzing the situation. now we want to turn to what to do about it. importantmade the point that, as much as one of like a role for diplomacy, negotiated solution, management of these problems, the conversation that the united
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states wants to have now is quite different from the that north korea is willing to that north korea is willing to have, and vice versa. the question is, are there specific thing that might be ande to get us off this dime produce more mutually acceptable conversations? to start, i want to go to mike, who has written about this. >> just one idea to add to the mix. i know we are all cognizant of the need to be adapted to whatever circumstances may present themselves -- not too prescriptive our response now -- but it strikes me if we see another major provocation, one idea when they want to contemplate is the idea of what i call temporary sanctions, sun setting sanctions. basically, and 44 two or three years, in addition to the existing sanctions, which i do
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not propose reformulating. those are written in an indefinite way. there is no time for dough in which they expire, and there should not be, until we get to a better place with our overall relationship with north korea. let us say there is a nuclear test this summer. under the circumstances, we may want to consider tough sanctions, ones that will last for a couple of years. there are two and vintages to this. one, it is easier to get the chinese aboard for this kind of idea. second, it gives the north koreans incentive to backtrack from the continuous provocations. the additional sanctions only expire if the provocations' stop. if the test continue or if there is another lethal use of force, he would continue to see the sanctions kept in place. i would want to add that to the mix of concepts we may want to contemplate. let's hope we do not have to go there, the chinese are doing
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persuadings, may be the north koreans not to launch today. maybe we are already at a point where the north koreans feel they have done enough for we can get back to normal diplomacy. if i write to worry there could be a nuclear test later this year, i would add that notion of temporary sanctions to the policy tool kit we may want to contemplate. >> evans, you have aand produce specific idea in this regard. >> one of the more successful encounters we had with the north koreans over the years we have been talking to them was when former secretary of defense perry went to pyongyang in 1979. i was with him on that mission. one of the things on the table there -- there was a sharp set of choices that we laid out for the north koreans. we presented two paths. one was a path of engagement and cooperation and denuclearization.
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the other path with some of by saying, you do not want to go there. he made it clear what that path might entail. it seems to me, if and when -- and i hope it is when, rather than if -- we get back to negotiations with the north koreans, it will be critical for us to sharpen their choices, to make it is clear as possible, the dangers they are running by their pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile capability, and the fact that the united states has not yet by any means exhaustive policy options open to us, including covert activities, efforts to destabilize north korea, and at the end of the day, even implementing a process of regime change. making that choice as crystal clear as possible for the north koreans. the problem is getting from here back to the table. you certainly do not want to
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create the impression with the u.s. or the rok, that getting back to the table we are yielding to north korean pressure. we certainly do not want that to happen. at the end of the day, if and when we can get back to the table with the north koreans, the choice to be asked are clearly out as possible. one of the other lessons that i have learned over the years of talking to the north koreans is that over the years we have been talking to the wrong people. we have not been talking to the leadership and the folks that make the decisions regarding matters of life and death in north korea. nuclear-weapons are regarded as a matter of life and death in north korea. conversations with north korean diplomats -- always wonderful to sit down across the table from my old friends -- but you are not going to get any traction with them, as we have discovered. i am not saying this is for sure what we would do, but you need to be engaged with the people
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who make the decisions and lay out this stark choice to the leadership. they have a couple of choices. take it or not. if they take it, it is win-win, we are engaged in a denuclearization process. i am rather pessimistic but i also feel the goal of denuclearization is so important, we ought to give it a shot at the appropriate moment. if we can get back to the table and accept this notion of a dialogue based on denuclearization, based on the implementation of their commitments, there is progress to be made. but the alternative is to say no thanks. point, the united states has some tough decisions to make, including going down the darker past that bill perry laid out for the north koreans in may 1999. >> without being overly flippant comment elements of what evans said -- what we may
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call the rodman strategy. [laughter] to be serious, to me, some of the most interesting options that are likely to prevail in this new set of circumstances are going to be questions of whether we can engage more fully with china. the challenge always with north korea is to deny them any kind of political space that enables them to operate in a relatively unconstrained manner. i do not want to say china over the years has given north korea a get out of jail free card, but there is that element. in other words, as long as pressures do not so impinge that north korea does not recognize, see an absence of any -- let me rephrase this. as long as no. 3 understands
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there are not ready alternatives, escape valves for or another, you may see them try more things to inhibit what they do. that is a supposition i am making, there are no guarantees here. it does seem to me, and i think we see some indications of this from secretary kerry's visit to beijing, that some of what we're hearing from the chinese is much more of a willingness now to look at a u.s.-china conversation about north korea in a variety of scenarios, in order to limit the risk and do whatever is possible to both inhibit their future weapons development and to make very clear to the north we will not validate these capabilities, nor are the chinese. this is something i ethics -- suspect the administration will work quite a bit on in the months to come.
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that has been a tough nut to crack, if you will. the chinese have been resistant to these kinds of discussions to this point, but indications are growing that china feels it is time to start that conversation. that will send a very interesting signal to the north. in my view, it is worth a try. >> thanks a lot. we have a smorgasbord of material on the table if we missed something. time for questions. a couple of rolls. first of all, wait for the microphone, identify yourself, poseur intervention in the form of a question. keep it brief. all of my colleagues are smart. they do not need a long windup. we'll start with jim and then chris nelson. the microphone is coming over there. thank you. thank you all for a terrific set
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of comments. you ask whether there was something left out. i thing there was one point that i regard as tremendously important that was left out, and that is the closing, at least temporarily of the kaesong complex. that is the most notable difference. do we really know who is in charge, who are the right people to talk to? in the early days of the kim jong un administration, there was some talk of market economies, farmers have more rights. that has all disappeared. is it that he discovered that was not the right way to go, did somebody else take over, is the military really in charge in north korea? these are questions on my mind that i wonder if you could at least comment on the case of kaesong and whether that is significantly different from
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previous episode we faced. >> jim raises a valid point. there was a tinkering what's before with kaesong, but this seems more determined in terms of what they have done. presumably, it harms their desire for generating a certain amount of currency, earnings and so forth. add to this, even for the sake of argument, if north korea decides to reopen the complex. it would not surprise me that if that was made, particularly operationsu.s.-rok wind down, whether businesses will wish to reopen under those circumstances. it seems to make an open question and something that the administration will have to contemplate. , it does seem to me,
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we all try to understand who is making the decisions. in the absence of other evidence to the contrary, i would have to say it is kim jong un and a small circle around him. i would rather look at behavioral outcomes. we do not have that kind of access or the kind of understanding. enghh korea goes to ample lanc ths about what is driving their policy. that is something they figured might be undertaken. look at the signals from north korea. the presumption must be this must be seen as a definitive
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action on their part that it anyd be the last bit of an kind of cooperation between the north and the south. that they will somehow rethink their strategy. i don't think that's the case. >> evans? >> there is no doubt that kim jong il is in charge. the way he is taking control of the party and the military and the state structure last year, the smoothness of the implementation. he has been able to remove a number of key players so readily including military people and replace them with his own loyalists. all those things and much more
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suggest this is a person who despite his youth is in charge. g issue, if thessu, doher side does a, we will b. kaeson.e not shut down g. they're keeping the door open to a restart of the operation. all of the small and medium south korean enterprises that are being hurt by the temporary thedown are insured by south korean government and other mechanisms. the north korean workers that will not be getting their
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salaries and the several hundred thousand north korean family members who are dependent on those workers, i do not think they have an insurance plan. to ultimate damage will be north korea and to those workers who will not be happy. >> i am glad that evans has raise these points. havehing the north koreans not yet done is to burn bridges. >> they have come close. abouty are very artful the way things are done. it took a few months to get a head of steam up. do they take steps now that will rule out any kind of relationship with her and they will persist down that path for
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termext 4 3/4 hours, her in office. they're not there yet. would need to watch that carefully in the next weeks and months. >> chris nelson. ofyou anticipated the bulk my questions. very close to michael o'hanlon's thinking. if they keep testing, pretty soon they will be right. it willit will keep -- happen if they keep testing. we have to swallow hard and think about 08 to talk to these guys.
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dennis rodman is the only one who was done that. that is a psychological bullet we have to bite. said korean president has she is willing to directly in gauge the new kid, and it doesn't have to be about denuclearization. is that the door to getting a process where we can then join -- maybe it is becoming a little .it more of a reality there was an editorial last week that was pretty tough. let's hope you're right. southif we let the koreans to take the initiative, see how things go, we have a
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combination of the o'hanlon initiative and the rodman initiative. thanks. the roklly think that needs to be the lead actor in this process. this is the korean peninsula. it is not the american peninsula or the chinese peninsula. something configured around the central role that the rok place here vis a vis china. there was a conversation on the phone. chinese.k rather good they mutually invited one
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another on visits. this is not the kind of thing that goes on between john and and -- between pyongyang and seoul. seoul as a distinctive set of possibilities that we should be prepared to hear out. sooner or later, after the war it would notes, surprise me if the north makes opener run at some run to doors to the south. that could be seen as a more attractive possibility then reaching out to the united states, even if you want the united states to validate you as a valid actor. it is more, could there be ways
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in which some of the goals that she did articulate as a candidate could be pursued pathully as an alternative that might be worth a try. park. mean president since we're talking about various initiatives, let's throw cold water on this initiative, just to be devil's advocate. to be clear, i am a strong advocate of south-north dialogue. we should remember it is the korean peninsula. atth korea was in the lead one. , including
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on the nuclear issue. that is part of the problem. be able tooreans may have a conversation with south korea but not about nuclear matters. they're deeply uncomfortable with putting south korea into the lead. to the extentans they want to talk about nuclear issues is to get the united states to accept them as a nuclear weapons state. they want to have that conversation with us. this is something to keep in mind. i am comfortable with south
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korea -- out to the north -- reaching out to the north. rows back. four >> hi. with "the economist." does kim jong il have consolidated power? that he hashe point consolidated power. is it the rattling of sabres? we have a new leader in south korea and china. new u.n. sanctions. this is making it more of a has it upped the ante?
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it seems that north korea, kim jong il, has got himself into a corner. responses.have many the south korean rules of engagement have changed. they are willing to take more risks in firing back. that could be more risky for north korea. all kinds of things in terms of how they can respond do not make sense. out of kim jong il get the corner? power innsolidation of
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north korea is an ongoing process. i think he's done a successful job in getting to where he is now. he still needs to demonstrate being a leader and a tough guy, as somebody in command. what better way to do that then to take the united states on in the current crisis and show how tough and firm you are. if you can get the united states to come to the table an offer reduce men's to stop this behavior, you have committed two major goals.ed two they were masters of getting themselves painted into a corner.
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they would create a problem for themselves and would rely on us to get them out of that. 2005.pened in 2000, we have fallen over ourselves to get them out of the bind they are in. maybe they want us to get them out of the corner that they have painted themselves in. we do not want to encourage this type of behavior. >> i thought this was largely a self generated a crisis for domestic purposes. therefore i will give you a minimalist way out that kim jong il could do this.
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to launch aing nuclear war against the north. kim jong il could declare mission accomplished. ,e can have a glorious parade because of the strength and determination of north korea. the americans have been held at bay one more time through the great wisdom of our leader. i will give you that scenario. >> will threats to fire nuclear weapons a part of that? >> oh, sure. it the two inmates what you're doing in the first place -- it legitimates what you're doing in the first place.
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the presumption of a war footing intoe north is so embedded the history of the state. e will now give co-euqaqual status to military development . that is right out of his grandfather's playbook. they are doing the same thing now. tendencyreenforcing that will presumably you will try to sell to your own citizens. the question is whether they buy it. >> gary mitchell. >> thank you very much. report the mitchell which comes right before the
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nilson report -- nelson report in the alphabet. part is a two- question. wrong? bill perry this comes from a session that steve led a short time ago on iran. the threshold of international approbation in dealing with issues of this magnitude is rising, getting tougher, i think it's a fair assessment of what he said. i'm interested to get your perspective collectively on recommendation
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policy withor not a respect to the dprk from the view can befo vie arrived at without some calculation of the strategy with dealing with the iran nuclear challenge. >> i assume when you refer to was -- i was op-ed in government when the statements were made. having served in the military in korea, the first image that came to mind was not the likely successful strike on the
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facilities but what happens next. the image to me was the immediate devastation of significant portions of seoul by andh korean artillery leading to a broader conflict in which hundreds of thousands of people would die. there's no question of who would prevail. that was the image to me. as a way of sending a blunt message to the north koreans, i thought perhaps it was it helpful thing to have said at the time. i think the flyovers the of the day sent a similar message. these things have consequences -- i think the flyovers the other day sent a similar
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message. i had some doubts about that. there may, time where we have to start thinking about options like that again -- there may come a time where we have to start thinking about options like that again. orchestrate their policy on north korea with your policy on iran? perhaps excepting north korea having some capability. what message does that send to iran? perhaps we are weakening. there is a bigger risk in iran going nuclear.
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there is a question with south korea and japan may be. what did the egyptians and the saudis and the turks do? i think the assessment is that iran going nuclear is probably more stressful for that reason. iran is perhaps more of a problem. economy is more integrated in the global economy than the north korean economy. .o you have more tools you have the united states and the european union, japan opposing additional sanctions. it was easier to do because
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iran had the connections to the global economy. we do not have the same sort of lovers with north korea. >> the woman in the back. >> despite the recent resurgence the u.s. could never accept north korea as a nuclear eventual shift in policy accepting north korea d.c. andacto -- eventual shift -- do you see an eventual shift in policy excepting north korea as a defacto nuclear state? >> the central take away from me.
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there are some who argue it is time to acknowledge the obvious, that north korea has nuclear weapons and is not going to trade them and that we should not necessarily to acknowledge them but basically live with this for a long time and hope we can bound the problem. of thisral take away crisis for me is that we now know very clearly what north korean intentions are when they ballisticfledged missile capability and a full- fledged nuclear weapons program, meaning deliverable nuclear weapons. the north koreans have made it clear what they plan to do with these weapons.
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they to not yet have the capability to hit colorado springs. clearly,have said very our intention is to strike. for anyone making the case that somehow we should acknowledge or deal with or live with a nuclear-armed career, think about that. own wordsorth korean's about this is where they are going. this is what they intend to do in a few years' time with these capabilities. >> i basically agree. this has been our policy. meanwhile the north koreans keep building up their arsenal.
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how do we try to arrest this process? book jonathan pollack's enough to know it is not going to be easy. we're all conceding that the north koreans really want these things. we have to break down the problem a little more incrementally. kim jong il could be in power for the next 50 years. we may be getting and little tired of applying sanctions. we have been doing pretty well. are not in and iran the places. kim jong il is going to have to he want toce. does
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reform or stay running the fir hermit kingdom. we want to play for the longer game. i could live with a deal that did not give nuclear status to the north koreans. loosen a little bit of the restrictions if they stop expanding and testing and stop killing south koreans. we can start walking down a path a little more gradually. it is not getting us very far year by year now. >> just one other observation here. this is a hypothetical you have posed.
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this is a different topic for a different time. wether the north korea that see today in terms of its identity and purposes would be that same north korea in 1- years., 15 there is a tennessee that this time these guys are going down that thiss a tendency time these guys are going down. for anotherow -- time we discussed that. there is a belief that north korea, whenever it's remarkable etermination and resilience, cannot or will not be able to
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defy the laws of gravity economically. maybe that is a calculation that people are making. it is a useful reminder that this is a damaged society. if over time there is a means by which perhaps through increased dealings more with their south korean brethren that you see the end of this regime as you know it. bet is something we might encountering over the period of time that you're discussing, but we will wait and see. >> i think we need to bring this to a close. i apologize to all the people that still have questions. the questions we had were a very good.
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andnt to thank evians steve and mike. this is a story that will not go away. thank you very much for coming. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> this week, the house focuses
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on cybersecurity legislation. they will take up a bill on wednesday. toers will gavel intoday take gavel-- will gavel in today to take a break. a vote set for 5:30. amendments to the gun bill tomorrow. expect amendments on high capacity and the nation. harry reid said he will work with republicans to give all lawmakers a chance to weigh in. .ee live coverage on c-span more hearings this week on the 2014 budget request which was released last week.
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testify onki will the budget. last week he spoke to house members addressing a number of issues. here's a what he had to say. >> too many veterans would too long for the benefits they deserve and no one wants to turn the situation around more than the workers at our veterans benefits administration. 52% of them are veterans themselves. we are resolved to limit the claims backlog in 2015 when claim will be processed in 125 days or less with a 90% accuracy level. our efforts mandate efforts in vba people, processes, and technology. more than 2100 people have completed training to improve the quality and productivity of claims decisions. more are being trained on the program per day.
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benefitssability questionnaires, what we call the dbq's, nine forms for submitting medical evidence has dropped average times of exams and improved accuracy. there are not three lanes for processing claims. express claim, for those that will provide a bleak take less time. a special operations lane for 10% of the claims for unusual cases, those requiring special handling. wherehen the core lane, 60% of the processing is done. ushnology is critical to ending the backlog. the system will be faster and improve access and drive automation, produced the variants. 30 regional offices now use vbms. >> secretary shinseki appeared
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before the house veterans' affairs committee last week. you can see that entire hearing in our video library. today at 2:30 eastern, he will be testifying before the senate veterans' affairs committee. live coverage getting under way at 2:30 eastern. a discussion now from this "rning's "washington journal host: adam green is co-founder of the progressive change campaign committee. he's been the civic director of krupa thousand aid charities in the press secretary for the national democratic committee in oregon during the if we were deeply with bold and progressive candidates, for their trust, build a grass-roots army from around them and then allow them to office, we have
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these great partners once in washington, d.c. and then can schedule legislation around their issues. >> we saw president obama unveiled his 2014 budget last week. is a story from politico. it looks at what your response is on the obama budget. a trio of liberal groups is one of lawmakers to back custody of the programs, they could face a challenge from the left in the next election. what is your response to the president's budget and how do you want to see members of congress come down on it? >> you cannot call yourself a democrat and support cuts to social security benefits. cutting benefits for grandparents and widows and veterans, we are cutting into the bone. are cutting into the core of
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the democratic legacy. that is unacceptable. if you believe the role of government is to help people, we tighter social sector to benefits. that is why the progressive change committee and others are making it clear from the start, democrats in congress supports the president's plan to cut social security benefits, we will seek to recruit and fund and support primary candidates. we have asked our members, would you be willing to step up and run for office in your local congress if your representative voted for social security cuts? 700 and democratic districts. include people like business owners, state legislators. we will get into recruiting business no matter what the cycle. hopefully to party incumbent, but if we have to, we are going to go there with prayer because there is nothing more important than social security. >> is there a danger of losing seats right now if it gets to the primary and then the general, are you concerned about losing seats the democrats now
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hold? tighter people to take -- aren't there. nothing is more popular than social security. if we have a democrat willing to cut social security benefits they are much more prone to lose. if you have a strong person like elizabeth warren, that would be wildly popular. especially in redder states. being strung on these economic policies are key to being a democrat. adam you like to talk to green hero the numbers to call.
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let us listen to president obama last week unveiling his budget and talking about what he sees as a need to make modest cuts to medicare to save the program. [video clip] >> both parties agree that the rising cost of curing a route aging generation is the longest record of long-term debt. deeplyse like me who believe in our social insurance program think it's one of the core things that our government needs to do. if we want to keep medicare working as well as it has come if we want to preserve the ironclad guarantee that medicare presents, we're going to have to make some changes. they do not have to be drastic. instead of making drastic ones later when we should be doing is making some manageable ones now. host: president obama last week. what is your response?
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president obama is saying you have to make some cuts in order to save medicare. guest: that is just wrong. in order to prevent future cuts that have cuts now is a little bit tweet. it is a weird premise. really it is horrible policy. people have personal stories about what social security and medicare mean to them. just last week we talked to somebody who, after paying all of the bills in his month, had $3.71. this isn't about a balance sheet. these are real lives with people -- there's nothing left to cut. stop picking on grandparents, widows, of veterans. especially as we see over the last couple of decades the rich paying less than their fair share. it is unfathomable to us that these millionaires' tax that gets put into the bill.
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inl corporate reform is not the president's budget. he is willing to ask residents to reduce his one-grandparents to pay more. -- he is willing to ask grandparents to be more. host: here is a tweet from a bold progressive -- guest: retweet. we are drawing a line in the sand. there are rooms -- is room for compromise. if democrats are willing to take on this issue -- they should run the republican line or should be repaired for a primary. we have done our homework. we pulled kentucky, ohio, montana, all of these red
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stains. even these red states, when you ask the security question in the most conservative way possible, "in order to reduce the deficit would you be willing to cut social security benefits?" aresay yes and 10% undecided. host: here is "the hill," -- is there an unusual alliance here? guest: i would not call it an alliance. the tea party is so crazy to keep blowing up whatever the president has put forward. even when he put forth a bad deal, from a progressive perspective they will kill it. because of dodge a bullet in december when it looked profitable the social security would pass as part of the grand bargain.
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that is our plan be. plan a is working with certain people in congress. we will vote against any and every cut to social security, medicare and medicare benefits. that is a promise. the strongest possible language. some people said you would never get beyond this, you and that get over a dozen. we now have 40 members of congress who are bold enough to say we will make this progress -- promise to our constituents. people are invited to be a citizen to enter and to let us know if you want to run against your member of congress if they vote to cut social security benefits. host: one of our followers on twitter. is it more for this generation to leave its debt on children?
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moral?s that it is immoral for us to essentially use this time that we have to allow the rich not to pay their fair share, corporations pay their fair share, then to pass on to children. it is immoral to go as long as we have with this growing disparity of wealth in the country, to nothing about it, and then, but the only solution to cut benefits for widows and veterans. let me put one fact out there. right now in congress can schakowsky has something called a millionaire's tax. it says we are going to go beyond the clinton era of tax rates, the top rate is 39.6%, and we will ask people making over a million dollars to pay 45% on income. $10 million, 46%. $100 million, 48%. if you are lucky enough to be making a billion dollars a year in income, 49%, which is below
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the ronald reagan tax rate. if that was passed, that would put a trillion extra dollars on the table. that means we could take medicare and social oscar the benefits of the table. we support the more progressive approach and the one that is more popular with voters, not asking this guy with $3.71 in his bank account to pony up more. host: sandy asks in her e-mail -- that is just one tax proposal. there is a wall street gambling tax, the financial transaction tax. that leaves a ton of money. many corporations have these insane a loophole that allowed them to pay. to taxes. they should be paying their fair share. another tax reform would be asking folks like mitt romney, who on this tax day is paying 40% or less in taxes, at -- 14%
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or less in taxes, start asking those people to stop hiding behind the polls. if we can do this, we would have to stop taking away benefits from our grandparents and veterans. if you cannot stand behind those principles, you should not call yourself a democrat. host: adam green is co-founder of the progressive change campaign committee. he's been the civic director of krupa thousand aid charities in the press secretary for the national democratic committee in oregon during the 2004 presidential campaign, and communications director for the new jersey democratic party in 2003-2004. guest: go jersey. host: let's hear from betty. caller: good morning. a couple years ago i had the pleasure of calling in while you were appearing on a c-span program to thank you for the wonderful work you do
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representing progressive spirit thank you again, sir. you are so right on. the american public needs to realize corporate tax rates and the tax rates on the wealthy are the lowest they have been in 60 years. this needs to be changed. need the chains dramatically. certainly not on the backs of the working poor and the elderly. i cannot thank you enough for what you are doing. you reiterate exactly what the journalists mr. bartlett said. he said "if you hear any politician saying at any time that earned benefit programs need to be tipped a way to solve the steps it, don't vote for them." thank you. host: adams talked about getting members of the
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progressive change committed to run for office locally. what are you doing in terms of involvement in your community? caller: i make sure i call the white house number every chance i get. they probably get tired of me, because i'm always calling and letting them know what i feel about whatever subject happens to be at hand. i am in customer service. anybody that happens to talk about politics, i love becoming engaged in that. i write letters to newspapers. i am -- they don't publish a whole lot of what i have to say, because i'm a little too progressive. we have a newspaper here in town that is solidly right- leaning. they don't publish a lot of what i have to say. but i do when i can and i call the white house as often as possible. host: thank you. guest: thank you again, betty. it's inspiring to hear from
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people like you. the gap between those paying attention to our political dialogue and those who are not, and actually taking action, that's a big step. it's great you are writing letters and making phone calls. i do hope you go to our website and join us, because we need a lot more people like you as part of our cause. one of the functions will play is pushed the reset button on the conversation we're having in washington. oftentimes it's within a right- wing bring work that checkmates the republicans into thinking the only thing to do is whether to ask widows and grandparents to pay more. we are trying to say what you said, over the last several decades, wells disparity, the difference in pay between corporate executives and their workers has increased out of control. we need to push the reset button and makes the facts clear and put items on the table that are not being discussed, like
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the millionaire's tax, and like asking wall street corporations to pay their fair share. working with allies on the inside like elizabeth warren, we will get it done. host: surely in ohio, republican. caller: i am ins tallmadge, ohio. -- in tallmadge. the thing i wanted to say was i think people need to be more educated about social security and that it is not meant to be a living wage. it is meant to be nice supplement -- a supplement. so many people are struggling. we need to educate from an early age that it is a supplement. it was not something to be lived on.
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and that would be for both parties to understand. the word progressive scares me. host:why? caller: because their agenda seems to me is not to fix a problem but to continue to raise taxes, dislike the rich, which many of them are, but i'm sure they hide it. i don't mean to be mean, but i just think they are scary bunch. that's all i have to say. host: a response? guest: i can tell you are very earnest. thanks for calling. except social security the way it was meant to be was as an augmentation to people of their savings. we think about what is the world meant to be and how things
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should be. retirement was conceived as a three legged stoll. pensions, savings, and social security. two legs have been kicked in by the big corporations in this country. there's been a real move to get rid of tensions and the amount paid to workers does not allow them to save much. when decades ago the corporate ceos were not getting that much more than their workers, certainly a lot more, but today it has exponential increase. we're talking about hundreds of percentages increase. that means as productivity goes up for workers, as workers have done their job and broaden the pool of wealth, they have not gotten a piece of that. it has been accumulated at the top. the way things are meant to be has not really involved.
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social security for lot of people is their retirement. we need to make structural changes in this country and finally start asking corporations to consider and respect their workers and share the block with their workers. that's a down payment for the day where maybe people's savings and pensions will play a bigger role. but we cannot live in a phony world where that does not exist. if we cannot ask the guy who is paying his bills and has $3 left in his chip in a little more. we need to protect social security. a senator from alaska has a bill to increase social security benefits. that is moral and very popular. so it should not scare you. we are looking out for people like you. host: what do you say to our ohio caller as she uses words like "fear?" guest: it's interesting to hear
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that one would steer those terms. i mentioned the great dialogue we have now. sometimes voices that stand up for principle are called something opposite of one will solves problems. i reject that. it is somewhat true on the tea party end. in the red states we have a 75% populist position and a 15% populist position which says don't cut social security. to the extent corporations are asking for not to raise taxes on corporations, that is wrong. on our side of the issue, there's bipartisanship on main street. republic and voters, independent voters, democratic voters agree on most positions we are putting forth. we should ask the rich to pay their fair share, hold wall
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street accountable, if wall street bankers who broke the law and illegally took away people's homes should go to jail, and social security should be protected for our seniors. things like that are overwhelmingly popular on main street. we think that we aren't using a pc with a common-sense approach from the outside in. our hope is for a day where republicans in d.c. actually represent the voters and we could have a good-faith dialogue with them. to that extent that the party is sticking up for corporate interests and different minority, why ask the democrats to compromise. we need to ask them to give voice to the public will, like elizabeth warren does, and to win. host: atabrine. let's go to wilmington, north carolina. jack is an independent. caller: good morning. sir, i'm calling on our independent line. while i do agree that you make a
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lot of valid points, for instance senator carl levin was on last week and someone asked him what is the core rate? he said 35%, but the effective rates that they pay is more like between 12% and 14%. we also know that -- i am listening to simpson-bowles and david walker and the comeback america initiative. on their side, they pointed out the fact that you have close to $1.50 trillion tied up in credits and deductions. out of all the filers, 20% will be enough to itemize, they get 80% of that money. you know, 55,000 pages, the tax code.
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every one of those lines of code has a constituency behind a will to fight. you're never going to get all that. i tend to feel that the president has taken a bold position of leadership and initiative on this. now the ball is in the republicans' court to beginyou'l that. to bring true tax reform so we can see many of the things you are speaking about, like the fact that the corporations are not paying, like the fact that the wealthy are not paying their fair share. however, both of those bipartisan debt commission's have pointed out the fact that you cannot tax your way out of this thinking and you cannot cut your way out. you don't want to cut real heavy until the out years, after the economy has had time to recover. say,ast thing i want to alan simpson pointed this out and erskine bowles did not flinch when he said this, but the trustees report on social
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security, which was are easiest problem to fix, if you don't do anything, you step up to the 25%w in 2020, you will get less. what are your fixes to medicare, which is the biggest driver of our debt, as the president had said? and god bless you. guest: thanks for your question. you pack a few things in there. but start with your last thing first. what are the solutions to social security and medicare? right now, social security has a to $0.50 trillion surplus. that will take it several decades. for those who want to extend it several more decades, there's a simple fix. that is called strapping the cap or increasing the cap. the caps is on what amount ofwho medicare, which is the biggest driver of our debt, as the president had said? and god bless you. guest: thanks for your question. income you actually pay social security taxes on. george soros and one buffett and bill gates only pay social security taxes for on the first $113,000 of their income. all the rest is tax free. if that means we're asking
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grandma to spend more. social security would be solvent for decades more in the future. one-stop shop, e-6. it also has the effect of taxing the rich and not taxing the poor. medicare, one of the misnomers in washington is that progressives are not willing to address entitlements. that is not true. we're not willing to cut benefits. we're not willing to take money out of grandparents and widows and veterans pockets, but we will find common sense savings. ande allow medicare medicaid to negotiate prices with the drug companies, we would save $130 billion. that's a lot of money. that's a lot of grandparent's we are keeping from having a bus in their pockets on a very limited income. that's not something progressives would locally swallow as part of a progressive -- as part of a larger package. that is outwardly the progress of thing to do. you're stopping big corporations from ripping off taxpayers and grandparents. let's do common-sense reforms
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like that which bring down the cost of health care. taking away grandparents money does not do anything for the cost of health care and it's not a band-aid on health-care cost problem. you mentioned these commissions. alan simpson is a millionaire. erston boles is a millionaire. their commission is almost entirely millionaires. it's easy for them to setbacks and be completely out of touch with people like i mentioned before who have $3.71 left in their bank account and proposed cutting benefits more. it's easy for them to say let's push the reset button and asked the poor people and a class to pay more and asked the rich detail little more. that's not courageous or old and it's horrible public policy. they are the least fit people to make these public policy decisions. they are illegitimate actors in our political dialogue. erskine bowles is a big
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corporate bill adair an mp -- a big corporate millionaire. we should not cite them as the authorities. askfact that they did not mitt romney to pay more than 40% in taxes aunt for the millionaire's tax which would raise $1 trillion, that shows their world view. finally, you mentioned president obama ringgold. this gets to something we call it fight theory. winningyour theory on the fight? if you start with the compromise position, you will lose. what we've seen in president obama's second term on other issues its boldness. not cutting a bad deal behind- the-scenes, asking the gun manufacturers what you would accept, but instead figuring out what has to be done and proposing it and then barnstorming the country and making republicans free out because they are having to be
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held accountable to their voters -- freak out. reason,issue, for some he has gone back to the weakest part of his presidency when he had the least leveraged and republicans had a fresh mandate in 2011, when he was willing to cut back deals. people like us have to say, no, we have to stand on principle and not just get behind him because he's a democrat. winning the fight? host: do you think there's a strategy behind a strategy that if the president offers a deal republicans don't accept, does that give him more leverage contracts farther to the left? guest: some people call this 13 dimensional, and amazing mind game that he's playing with the republicans. and had more possibility before the election. bill clinton had wanted to reassert his mandate, showing he was a man of common sense.

Politics Public Policy Today
CSPAN April 15, 2013 10:00am-12:00pm EDT


TOPIC FREQUENCY North Korea 56, Us 31, North Koreans 31, South Korea 22, United States 21, U.s. 15, China 10, Pyongyang 7, Evans 6, Kim Jong Il 5, Washington 5, Korea 5, Yongbyon 4, Steve 4, Jonathan 4, Seoul 3, Kim Jong 3, Ohio 3, Iran 3, Elizabeth Warren 3
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Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
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Tuner Channel 17 (141 MHz)
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on 4/15/2013